Designs by architect SimpsonHaugh and landscape specialist Planit-IE focus on the creation of a world-class urban quarter and celebrate the heritage of a Manchester landmark - The Great Northern Warehouse.
Plans for the transformation of the grade II* listed Great Northern Warehouse, along with Deansgate Terraces and Great Northern Square have been submitted to Manchester City Council by the partnership that owns the site, Trilogy Real Estate and Peterson Group. Since acquiring the Great Northern in 2013, the partnership has been developing a series of proposals in a £300m, ten-year plan to bring to life one of Manchester’s most historic and strategically significant regeneration areas.
The planning application follows an extensive public consultation; including two public exhibitions in August and a series of consultation events that engaged over 200 local residents and stakeholders; which has shaped the design.
The plans have been drawn up by a team of consultants that includes masterplanner Will Alsop’s aLL Design, architect SimpsonHaugh, Altrincham-based landscape specialist Planit-IE and interior architect Johnson Naylor.
Robert Wolstenholme of Trilogy Real Estate said:
“The Great Northern Warehouse and Square offer one of the most significant regeneration opportunities in Manchester city centre, and we have spoken to over 200 local stakeholders and residents to try to get this right. In particular, this process has shaped the character of the public space, where we aim to play our part in a city-wide initiative to bring trees and greenery into the heart of the civic centre.
We’re restoring the historic character of the Great Northern, stripping away the modern structures that disfigure the historic warehouse and making sensitive interventions that are in tune with the quality of the site. Alongside our neighbours at St Johns, our vision is to regenerate this underperforming part of the city and create a new urban quarter that will add to Manchester’s building reputation as a world city.”
Nick Owen, Partner at SimpsonHaugh said:
“The design proposals are shaped by the key principles of respecting and celebrating the site’s heritage assets and transforming the existing public realm. By stripping back the obtrusive modern additions and sensitively repairing and enhancing the original fabric, we aim to reveal this great building for the public to enjoy.”
Trilogy and Peterson see the current use of the Great Northern Warehouse as a car park as completely at odds with the quality and heritage value of the building. The designs propose to revive the Great Northern Warehouse by converting the upper three storeys to high quality residential accommodation, stripping away modern additions like the parking ramps to reveal the building’s historic character and conserve its heritage. In addition Deansgate Terraces will be renovated to create a high quality retail street at ground level, with residences on the upper floors.
Across the site, public space will be increased by over 25%, from around 6,200sqm to 7,850sqm. The designers have placed pedestrian access at the top of their priorities, proposing new high quality, legible and accessible pedestrian routes across the site, lined with front doors, shops and cafes to provide an active, welcoming environment.
Great Northern Square has been reimagined to create a new urban oasis that will boost local biodiversity and provide a place for families, local residents and workers to relax. The existing amphitheatre will be covered over, with a lawn placed on top and broad-leaved trees planted. The new square will be more attractive and easier to navigate for those passing through. Under the square, a series of water tanks are proposed to collect rainwater that will provide irrigation for the new trees and sustainable water uses within the apartments.
One of the highlights of the new public realm is an artwork on the terminating wall of the Deansgate Terrace featuring engraved verses from Shelley’s Masque of Anarchy. Trilogy and Peterson hope to have this in place in time for the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo massacre, which the poem commemorates.
Dean Street, a new pedestrian street, will run parallel to Deansgate, providing retail units ideally suited for independent retailers, cafés restaurants and bars. Public realm on top of the former railway lines will be activated by relocating the entrance to the existing cinema alongside proposed gym and restaurant entrances.
Built by Great Northern Railway between 1896 -1899, the Grade II* listed Great Northern Warehouse is visually striking evidence of Manchester’s industrial past. The original glazed brick lettering along the upper level of all four elevations of the warehouse is a local landmark that can be seen across the city.
Further phases of the £300m transformation are currently in the early stages of consultation, with plans to deliver the project over the next ten years.